Barnet Homes Fire doors not up to standard

 

Below is an extract from the Housing Committee Thursday the  21st of June, 2018

http://barnet.moderngov.co.uk/documents/g9486/Public%20reports%20pack%2021st-Jun-2018%2019.00%20Housing%20Committee.pdf?T=10

 

Appendix 1

Fire safety and the Council’s response to the Grenfell Tower fire disaster

 

Further developments – Manse Masterdoor

23.On the 15th March 2018, the Government released a statement regarding potential
issues identified with door-sets produced by the company Manse Masterdoor.
Further testing of these doors was undertaken and an updated statement made on
the 16th May 2018. An excerpt of this statement is as follows:

“The expert panel has concluded there is a performance issue with these Manse
Masterdoor fire doors, which do not consistently meet the 30-minute fire resistance standard. Nevertheless, the National Fire Chiefs Council has advised the expert panel the risk to public safety remains low”

24.The full statement can be viewed at;
http://www.gov.uk/government/news/update-on-fire-doors-investigation-risk-topublic-safety-remains-low.
The statement also confirmed that the MHCLG is
writing to affected customers. The affected doors were supplied between 2013
and 2014.

25.There is a total of 1,183 of these doors on Barnet Homes properties. All affected
residents have been written to confirming the steps are being taken to replace the
door-sets, whilst also confirming the Governments advice that the risk posed
remains low.

26.In addition, Barnet Homes has arranged for the fire risk assessments to blocks
containing these doors be updated in light of this matter. This will be completed by
29th June 2018. These fire risk assessments will form the basis for prioritising the
door replacement programme.

27.The estimated costs for replacing these doors is in the region of £1.5m, however Barnet Homes are engaged in positive discussions with the contracted party that
installed the doors in order to mitigate any cost implications to the Council


 

Worryingly, the same document details a fire at a block of 20 flats in Graham Park Estate.

 


18.In early April 2018, a serious fire occurred at a small block on the Grahame Park
Estate. Although nobody was hurt, the whole block of 20 flats is now uninhabitable,
and residents have been provided with alternative accommodation. Following this
fire, Barnet Homes instructed an intrusive survey of the communal areas of the
block which highlighted the need for some improvements to the fire separation
measures within areas not generally accessible through the Fire Risk Assessment
process, such as within enclosed riser ducts and suspended ceiling void spaces.
Surveys were undertaken to blocks of a similar construction on the same estate,
which highlighted the need for similar improvements. Arrangements have been
made to implement works to address these matters.

19.Whilst the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 focuses on communal
areas, Barnet Homes have piloted some surveys which go over and above these
requirements and include areas within dwellings. Within some properties areas for
further improvements have been identified of a similar nature to that of the highrise
properties.

20.It is therefore recommended that Barnet Homes extend its programme of fire safety works to include all blocks of flats.

This would include;

 Surveying of sample properties internally as part of an extended fire risk
assessment programme

 The installation of enhanced fire detection and alarm systems within all
tenanted flats.

 That measures identified as part of the extended fire risk assessment surveys
are undertaken through a programme of works to be developed as the surveys
progress.

21.Until the surveys have been undertaken to all blocks it is difficult to accurately
estimate the cost of undertaking the arising works. The next fire safety update to
the Housing Committee will include more a detailed and costed programme along
with proposals for funding these works.

22.Barnet Homes will make use of existing capital budgets to address any urgent
works identified that need to be dealt with prior to the October 2018 Housing
Committee up to a value of £200,000.

Barnet Homes ASSIST

Image result for barnet group

Barnet Group ASSIST proposals

 

Barnet UNISON is currently in negotiations with The Barnet Group in relation to the recommendations below.

Needless to say, Barnet UNISON is opposed to cuts to this vital front line service and opposed to the night operator service being outsourced.

The proposed recommendation to move to bench marked salaries would have grave implications for ALL Barnet Group staff irrespective of whether they are employed on a traditional Barnet Homes contract, which is protected by the 2006 TUPE agreement from LBB, or, a TBG Flex contract.

If Barnet Group Management continue with the intention to break with the current nationally agreed pay structure in the Barnet Homes and the TBG Flex paystructure, Barnet UNISON will be left with no alternative other than consult with ALL employees that would potentially be effected.

 

The Barnet Homes Board approved the following on Monday 18th June.

 

Recommendation

It is fully acknowledged that Assist is an essential and greatly valued service and the focus will be on how the service is supported to grow. However, the current cost base does not support the services ability to bid for new business and cannot continue to be provided in its existing form if the growth aspirations are to be achieved.

 

The proposed changes are not made to cut costs just to make the numbers balance, but are made to modernise the service. The result of the changes are lower costs as we plan to combine our call centre functions and tender the current night operators service. Jobs will be offered in the call centre where they are available but they will be different.

 

The measures that need to be taken if Assist is to continue to provide an operator and mobile response service to its current customers and to win additional services to support the growth imperative are stated below.

 

There have been 4 different options that have been consulted on with the Assist staff and following feedback the following is recommended.

 

  • The Assist service provides a limited operator service during office hours and buys in the out of hours call monitoring.
  • All Assist daytime operators, mobile response officers, management and admin teams will be matched to the bench marked high rate salaries, aligned to NJC Outer London Spinal points.
  • Enhancements and shift allowances will no longer be paid.
  • 3.3 full time equivalent operator posts (125 hours) will be co-located to work within the contact centre carrying out the same duties as they currently do, during office hours (8am-6pm), this option will add another facet to the Barnet Homes Call Centre further supporting the diversity of work that this service area carries.
  • The current night operators will be consulted with and will either be TUPE’d to the procured provider, be redeployed within The Barnet Group, or be made redundant.
  • Where the impact of the changes to individual’s salaries and contractual obligations are impacted negatively by -10% (gross) or higher they will be offered redeployment or redundancy if a suitable alternative cannot be found.
  • All mobile response officer (MRO) work patterns will be reviewed to ensure that there is full cover for the service and capacity for growth
  • There will be a reduction of one senior post
  • The standby rate will remain at £26.76, this will be cost neutral for the Barnet MRO’s and an increase for the Brent MRO’s
  • Removal of the car allowance with all mileage paid at 60p per mile.

 

FAT CAT PROFITS

 

‘Taxing the Sick’: Barnet Council Sick Pay deductions consultation begins

Barnet UNISON has been formally notified by Barnet Council of it’s intention to consult on whether to impose what we are calling a ‘tax on the sick’. It is important for all Barnet UNISON members that we~ reject the proposal. However, the Council is insistent that it wants to commence consultation before coming to a decision later in the year.

37% of sickness is short term sickness

63% of sickness is long term sickness.

This means that those with serious health conditions such as stress, cancer, strokes etc are being targeted by our Council as their time off work is contributing to the high sickness levels.

It is Barnet UNISON’s view that this is both discriminatory and unacceptable.

Furthermore we have serious concerns about the process for staff with long term health conditions to be able to access ill health retirement options. Before Capita took over this service we had hardly any complaints about the occupational health service provided by a local GP based in Barnet. Now it is a private company and is causing widespread problems across all in-house services. It is important that for those trying to come to terms with long term health issues that they should be treated with dignity and respect. They do not need ongoing delays to a process which is not complicated. In our view a new local occupational health provider should be given a contract to see how they impact on the length of delays for those off sick still waiting for a decision.

As part of this consultation we have asked for a breakdown of the types of medical conditions for both short and long term sickness reporting.

We have also requested for a breakdown of return to work meetings as we are hearing across some services they are either not happening or sporadically. It is important that when someone is off sick that they have their one to one meeting.

We are also asking for a breakdown of sickness meetings in order to understand how frequent they are taking place across the services.

It’s important that staff understand that the Council has a duty of care towards their staff. If someone is off sick it is critical that the Council has used meetings with staff to understand why someone is off sick.

What happens next?

We will continue to update our members on the consultation and towards the end we will conduct an indicative strike ballot as we believe that this proposal to ‘tax the sick’ must be dropped. We need to hear directly from our members as to what they think of this proposal. Keep a lookout for our weekly eNEWS and any email/text messages from our branch office.

Barnet UNISON has produced a number of flyers which members can download or share with work colleagues here

2018.07.16. SICK PAY leaflet v1

2018.07.16. SICK PAY leaflet v2

2018.07.16. SICK PAY leaflet v3

2018.07.16. SICK PAY leaflet v4

If you have any questions please contact the Barnet UNISON office on 0208 359 2088 or email contactus@barnetunison.org.uk

How can Barnet Council even think of allowing Capita to run our IT services after this?

“The council went live with a new adult social care case management system (Mosaic) in April 2017. The implementation has involved significant issues which have critically affected the system’s performance.

Improvements have been made to the system since go-live but there are still significant issues. These have an impact on financial monitoring, performance reporting and operational effectiveness, including the ability to efficiently bill clients and pay invoices.

Mitigations are in place to manage the risks and issues.

Resolving these problems has had both operational and commercial consequences. It is proposed that an audit lessons learned exercise is now undertaken and the findings are reported to Audit Committee. The commercial teams of the council and Capita have agreed to the principle that the most effective way to deliver a fit for purpose system is for the council to engage with an alternative provider to undertake the rest of the required implementation work. This paper seeks authorisation to procure a new delivery partner to complete the delivery of a fit for purpose case management system for adult social care in Barnet, and the allocation of a capital budget to enable the procurement to commence, whilst the process to agree commercial liability with Capita concludes.”

“That the Policy and Resources Committee approves a procurement exercise to the

value of up to £3m.”

Read on

“If the Committee approves the recommendations in this paper, the following

activity will be undertaken to implement the decision:

A written agreement between Capita and the council will be drawn up to agree how the council and Capita will engage with a new third-party provider to successfully deliver the Mosaic system implementation, while the Capita team withdraw from the delivery of the programme;

A specification will be finalised and a procurement will be undertaken to award a contract to a new provider; and

The activity which will follow will be mobilisation of a new third-party provider and a period of handover between Capita and new third-party provider.”

Serious questions must be asked for example

“Who pays for the procurement and the new contract and wasted officer hours securing a new service provider?

“How can Barnet Council continue to support Option 2 which seeks to keep Capita delivering IT services?

Read full report of the failure here http://barnet.moderngov.co.uk/documents/s47255/Case%20Management%20System.pdf

 

 

 

“Terminate Capita Contracts and Redesign the Council”

Barnet UNISON Report to Barnet Council Policy and Resources Committee, Thursday 19 July 2018.

“Terminate Capita Contracts and Redesign the Council”

Redesign the Council

We urge the Council to radically redesign the way services and functions are carried out which should include:

1. Integrated services

Abolish commissioning and replace it with the integration of client and provider functions to work in combined teams. Improved frontline intelligence and skills will improve the planning and delivery of services. The return of CSG back office and Regeneration services in-house, together with the Housing Service and Your Choice Barnet as a result of the abolition of the arms-length The Barnet Group, provides an opportunity to create genuine coordinated and integrated services and functions. This will also provide the potential to fundamentally improve the integration of services and capability of the Council to meet residents needs and improve the local economy.

2. Rebuild the council’s in-house capability and capacity

The Council urgently needs to refocus on rebuilding in-house capability and capacity combined with a drastic reduction in use of consultants and agency staff, both of which are very costly and lead to a spiralling loss of capability. A commitment to public provision, training and career development will be vital in attracting staff. The entirely predictable consequences of the mass outsourcing strategy are reflected in the £24m cost of management consultants and One Barnet programme costs and the £20m spent in 2016-17 alone on interim and agency staff.

3. Service planning with staff and service user participation

A new transformation strategy should be centred on Public Service innovation and improvement Plans, prepared with community and staff involvement and reviewed every four years. The Plans will contribute to the design and digitisation of council services to meet the needs and aspirations of Barnet residents and the local economy.  They will ensure that services are effective and efficient and cost a tiny fraction of the budget spent on consultants and the One Barnet programme.

4. Early development and intervention

Rigorous, comprehensive and consistent monitoring and scrutiny of services will not only directly contribute to innovation and improvement, but will also increase the effectiveness and efficiency of service provision. It has an important role in identifying situations where services and users require early support which prevents

longer term negative consequences and costs.

5. Value inputs, processes, outputs and outcomes

All four are an integral part of the quality of public services and thus must be taken into account in policy and decision making. Furthermore they are an important part of determining the impact of Council policies on the local economy. 

6. Social, economic, equality and environmental impact assessment

Austerity policies have imposed severe financial constraints on local authorities which have reinforced the dominance of ‘cost savings’ and on procurement, competition and market forces. There is significant evidence that savings are rarely achieved when a full public audit is undertaken. Furthermore, ignoring or marginalising the social, economic, equality and environmental impacts of public policies increases inequalities, poverty and imposes larger longer-term costs. It is essential that public policy decisions in Barnet are subject to a full impact assessment that is publicly available at the start of public participation.

7. Improved democratic accountability, participation and transparency

The above proposals require more open accountable and participative democratic processes not just to evidence ‘community consultation’ but to demonstrate that views and proposals have been fully taken into account and any negative impacts mitigated.

8. Joint working with other public sector organisations

Joint working and, in some cases, pooling of budgets is vital where Council services are part of a wider and more comprehensive system such as regeneration and social care.

View full report here Terminate Capita Redesign Council

EasyCouncil end of Term Report is a #Fail

“An increasing number of high risk and medium risk findings relate to the financial management practices in place at the Council, specifically those around income and expenditure monitoring. A failure of the control environment around financial management could significantly exacerbate the already extensive financial pressures on the Council and increases the risk of fraud. A significant internal fraud issue was identified at the Council during 2017/18; a criminal investigation is ongoing in relation to this matter but it highlights the risks that can crystallise if the lines of defence are not appropriately designed or operating as intended.”

(Source: The London Borough of Barnet, Annual Internal Audit Opinion, 2017/2018, http://barnet.moderngov.co.uk/documents/s47416/Appendix%20-%20Annual%20Internal%20Audit%20Opinion%202017-18.pdf )

Barnet UNISON notes the serious risks and issues detailed in “The London Borough of Barnet, Annual Internal Audit Opinion, 2017/2018.”

The Audit Committee meets on Tuesday 17 July, 2018, 7 pm at Hendon Town Hall, The Burroughs, London NW4 4BG

Barnet UNISON opinion.

The most shocking omission for the Audit Committee is the failure to provide the detailed review undertaken by Grant Thornton UK LLP (GT)

 “1.17 The Council subsequently employed Grant Thornton UK LLP (GT) in January 2018 to undertake a detailed review to fully understand and document the fraud itself through a forensic review, identify the reasons that the alleged fraud could occur, including weaknesses in the control environment and to identify lessons learned. The Council engaged an external provider as this ensured that the circumstances around the alleged fraud were the subject of an independent review, as well as adding capacity.

1.18 The Grant Thornton report is attached at Appendix 1. It is currently in draft form to allow Capita a period of time to review and comment on its accuracy. As the report contains financial and business information about Re and Capita and Capita has not yet had an opportunity to provide comments on its contents, it is not in the public interest to publish it at this stage. This report and further reporting information from the Grant Thornton review will be finalised over the next few weeks and months and it is intended that these will be presented to Audit Committee and any other relevant Council committee in the Autumn 2018.”

(Report of Chief Executive, Audit Committee, 17 July 2018 http://barnet.moderngov.co.uk/documents/s47427/Report%20of%20the%20Chief%20Executive.pdf

On Thursday 19 July 2018 at the Policy and Resources Committee, Barnet Council is considering the future of the Capita contracts. The report produced by senior officers provides the councillors with three options. It recommends Option 2.

Review of Capita Contracts – Strategic Outline Case

http://barnet.moderngov.co.uk/documents/s47263/Capita%20Realignment.pdf

Barnet UNISON believes that informed decision making cannot be reached without the details of the Grant Thornton Review being made available to the members of Policy and Resources Committee and Barnet Council Taxpayers and residents.

There is a very real material risk that any decisions made without the publication of the Grant Thornton report could leave Barnet Council at risk of another Judicial Review.

Below are some extracts from a number of reports on the Agenda of the Audit Committee, 17 July, 2018.

The use of bold is our own, in order to help shine a light on the fundamental and systemic issues being raised at the Audit Committee.

1. The London Borough of Barnet, Annual Internal Audit Opinion, 2017/2018.”

 “There has been a significant increase in the percentage of audit reports receiving an overall rating of “limited” (from 11% in 16/17 to 25% in 17/18), and a corresponding decrease in the percentage of audit reports receiving a “reasonable rating” (from 78% in 16/17 to 61% in 17/18). This represents a clear weakening of the control environment at the Council.”

“A number of planned key financial systems audits were removed from the audit plan to avoid confusion or duplication with the review of controls separately commissioned by the Chief Finance Officer in response to the significant fraud issue identified during the year.”

 “As reported to the Policy and Resources Committee in June, the Council’s revenue outturn position for 2017/18 was £13.5m overspent. At quarter 3, the forecast position had been £6.6m overspent. The increase in overspend by quarter 4 was analysed in the Financial Monitoring Report outturn to Financial Performance and Contracts Committee in July.”

 “Internal audits undertaken during the period, including audits of key financial systems, demonstrated a weakening of the financial control environment. This included a number of areas where evidence could not be provided to confirm that basic fraud prevention controls were operating including segregation of duties for transaction approvals and reconciliations, proactive review of areas with a high fraud risk due to value or known issues, and user access to the key financial system of Payroll.”

 “During 2017/18 the Council has been dealing with a significant financial fraud issue. This matter came to light late in December 2017 and the Council responded immediately with the following actions: a criminal investigation commenced immediately by the Corporate Anti-Fraud Team (with relevant support where required from the Police); the suspect was suspended from work immediately and shortly after dismissed; and stringent additional emergency financial controls were immediately put in place to safeguard the council’s finances until a full review could be undertaken. An independent review of financial control and financial forensic analysis was commissioned and Grant Thornton were appointed to undertake this review.”

“Non-schools payroll – The payroll system access report was not regularly reviewed to ensure that access has only been granted to appropriate members of staff. Additionally, the overtime payments process was manual and as a result, payroll staff were not able to access details of the manager who approved an individual’s overtime payment, increasing the risk of payroll processing invalid or fraudulent payments.”

 “Pensions Administration – Contract monitoring meetings held to monitor the pension administration section of the CSG contract were not formally recorded by the Council and employer targets for the scheme administration strategy are not monitored. There was no scheme communication strategy or agreed fund administration strategy in place during the period under review.”

“Staff Performance Reviews – There is no super-user access to the Core HR system or central ability within HR to go into staff records to look at the quality and content of appraisal documentation. This may mean that there was not sufficiently detailed central oversight to be able to ensure that the performance review process was fairly applied across all service areas and staff groups. There was no secondary review process to challenge any missing or insufficient information within moderation panel forms, so the process relied on the HR business partner to assure the completeness and quality of these forms. Based on the audit work carried out, this was not happening consistently.”

“Water Safety – A lack of formal training for premises coordinators around legionella testing was noted.”

 “Transformation – The Way We Work – While a benefits tracker is in place which clearly outlines the key benefits of the programme, there was not yet a breakdown of key milestones for each benefit, benefits monitoring was not yet taking place at a project level, and not all benefits had clear links between benefit description, baseline, measurement method and target. The review date within the assumptions log had not been filled in for the Office 365 project, and as such there was no evidence that these assumptions had been reviewed since they were first identified. Only five changes were recorded in the change log for the programme. Given the complexity and size of TW3 and the many known changes since the programme’s inception, this indicated that the change log is not being consistently used to record changes to the programme scope and budget and the agreement of these changes.”

“Staff Performance Reviews – An equalities analysis of performance rating distributions across different monitored protected characteristics was reported to the Strategic Commissioning Board (SCB) on 4 July 2017. However, this report did not effectively convey rating curves or allow the identification of variances between areas due to issues with chart layout and the quality of analysis. As a result, clear variances between service areas and variances around gender, religion and disability were not identified, investigated or reported on. This analysis also took place after the end of the moderation process, meaning that any variances could only be investigated retrospectively.”

“Issues were noted by internal audit with the extent to which statutory and internal deadlines for activity were met, increasing the Council’s potential liability for additional fees and charges, and legal sanctions and reducing the extent to which its own enforcement activity can be carried out. We noted issues with the performance of key employment checks including DBS and right to work checks, which could lead to fines, legal action and reputational damage. Key health and safety checks relating to water safety were not carried out in line with required statutory timescales. In a number of areas including some key financial systems, we noted that policies and procedures were not consistently in place or regularly updated. Policies and procedures are a basic pillar of a functioning control framework. Where they are missing or out of date, this indicates that the control environment has not been regularly reviewed and updated to mirror changes in local or statutory approaches to service delivery.” 

“Eligibility to Work – Pre-Employment Checks (Non-Schools) – We noted several anomalies in the DBS data provided to us for review. In some cases HR were unclear as to whether the post required or did not require a DBS check or of the DBS level required. In other cases, no DBS certificate reference was held. As a result, it was not clear whether all staff have the required DBS clearance. CSG Management also confirmed that there were no central, consistent arrangements for logging or following up Home Office right to work (RTW) approvals approaching expiry because RTW data is not held on the Core HR system to support the necessary reporting. The Council can be fined £20,000 by the Home Office per illegal worker. Pre-employment checks, covering identity checks (proof of address), DBS checks, National Insurance checks, reference checks and qualification checks (generally the responsibility of the relevant Council manager) were not undertaken consistently.”

“Commercial Waste – achieving income target – Formal notices had not been provided to companies requiring them to use commercial waste sacks, meaning that it is difficult to undertake enforcement activity relating to non-compliance. We noted enforcement processes involving the issuing of fixed penalty notices (FPNs) where businesses were unable to provide their commercial trade waste agreement. However, intended enhancements to the enforcement process, involving the review and decision making of customer cases following the FPN enforcement process had not yet been fully introduced. Vehicle tracker monitoring and vehicle inspections were not carried out in accordance with the frequency laid out in procedure documents. Performance monitoring had not identified this issue.”

“Water Safety – Performance of water safety testing did not consistently happen in line with required timescales. In one instance annual water sampling testing was over five months overdue at the date of testing. Documentation was not consistently uploaded to Info Exchange to demonstrate that testing or remedial action had taken place.”

“Non-schools Payroll – Policies and procedures do not cover the overtime payments or processes and controls in place to manage system access.”

“While it looks like the 2017/18 outcomes are similar to 2015/16’s, if ratings were assigned on the 2015/16 basis, the number of “limited” reports in 2017/18 would increase to 12 (43% of rated reports), which represents a significant deterioration from 2015/16 in real terms.”

(Source: The London Borough of Barnet, Annual Internal Audit Opinion, 2017/2018, http://barnet.moderngov.co.uk/documents/s47416/Appendix%20-%20Annual%20Internal%20Audit%20Opinion%202017-18.pdf )

2. Report of Chief Executive, Audit Committee, 17 July 2018

“Financial Control and Risk of Fraud

1.11 A referral was received by the Corporate Anti Fraud Team (CAFT) in December 2017 alleging that a substantial amount of money had been paid into an account belonging to a member of Re staff. A criminal and financial investigation was immediately initiated by CAFT which subsequently identified that 62 allegedly fraudulent transactions, between July 2016 to December 2017, amounting to the total sum of £2,063,972.00, had been paid into various bank accounts controlled by the individual. The individual is no longer working for Re. The individual has been charged with two counts of fraud by abuse of position under the Fraud Act 2006. The case is currently listed for hearing in Harrow Crown Court. The sum has been repaid to the Council by Re and Capita has confirmed that it has underwritten this loss.

1.12 Following this discovery, the Council immediately took action to tighten financial controls and initiated an independent report into the wider financial control environment across the organisation.

1.15 The Council immediately put into place a new system of approving CHAPs payments. As these “on the day” payments are approved outside of Integra or any feeder systems that interface with the financial ledger, such as the Social Care system, approval for payments take place. The new systems went live during December. The system introduced six stringent effective new controls.

1.16 A dual authorisation process was also introduced for the release of payments from Bankline, the application through which CHAPs payments are made, so that in additional to a CSG employee, a Barnet Council employee must sign off each payment release in the system.

1.17 The Council subsequently employed Grant Thornton UK LLP (GT) in January 2018 to undertake a detailed review to fully understand and document the fraud itself through a forensic review, identify the reasons that the alleged fraud could occur, including weaknesses in the control environment and to identify lessons learned. The Council engaged an external provider as this ensured that the circumstances around the alleged fraud were the subject of an independent review, as well as adding capacity.

1.18 The Grant Thornton report is attached at Appendix 1. It is currently in draft form to allow Capita a period of time to review and comment on its accuracy. As the report contains financial and business information about Re and Capita and Capita has not yet had an opportunity to provide comments on its contents, it is not in the public interest to publish it at this stage. This report and further reporting information from the Grant Thornton review will be finalised over the next few weeks and months and it is intended that these will be presented to Audit Committee and any other relevant Council committee in the Autumn 2018.

1.19 The Internal Audit programme has been focused on internal financial controls for 2018/19. This will ensure that sufficient scrutiny and external challenge is applied to the robustness of the control environment.

OUTCOME: A tightened financial control environment and reasonable or substantial assurance on internal financial control audit reports throughout 2018/19.”

“1.34 A review of the Council’s senior management structure has been initiated and will come to Committee in the autumn. This will take into account the proposed changes to the Capita contracts and address matters in respect of roles, responsibilities and accountabilities which are highlighted in the Annual Governance Statement and Head of Internal Audit Opinion.

1.35 It is important that senior management roles and accountabilities are regularly controlled and this review will need to take into account the changes that are being proposed in the Policy and Resources Committee report on the Council’s contracts with Capita.

1.36 This review will come to Constitution and General Purposes Committee in October 2018 and will be implemented by April 2019.

OUTCOME: A new senior management structure in place for 2019.”

(Source: Report of Chief Executive, Audit Committee, 17 July 2018 http://barnet.moderngov.co.uk/documents/s47427/Report%20of%20the%20Chief%20Executive.pdf )

3. Appendix 1 Corporate Anti-Fraud Team (CAFT), Progress Report: 1 April – 30 June 2018

“4. Noteworthy investigation summaries: –

Corporate Fraud

Case 1 – Case 1 – relates to Financial Proceeds of Crime Case and a significant fraud by a member of staff working for Re (Regional Enterprise Ltd), who was also previously employed by the council. A referral was received by CAFT in December 2017 alleging that a substantial amount of money had been paid into an account belonging to a member of Re staff. A criminal and financial Investigation was immediately initiated by CAFT which subsequently identified that 62 allegedly fraudulent transactions, between the dates July 2016 to December 2017 and amounting to the total sum of £2,063,972.00 had been paid into various bank accounts controlled by the individual. The individual is no longer working for Re.

The individual was summonsed to appear before Willesden Magistrates court on the 3rd July 2018, on two charges of Fraud by Abuse of Position, contrary to the Section 4 of the Fraud Act 2006. The individual gave no indication of plea and the matter was referred to Harrow Crown Court for a Plea and Trial Preparation Hearing on 31st July 2018. Further details including the outcome of this case will be reported once the criminal proceedings have been concluded.”

(Source: Appendix 1 Corporate Anti-Fraud Team (CAFT), Progress Report: 1 April – 30 June 2018)

http://barnet.moderngov.co.uk/documents/s47418/Appendix%201%20-%20CAFT%20Q1%20Progress%20Report%201st%20April%2030st%20June%202018.pdf

 

Barnet Council “Bring ‘em back, all of them!” #Capita

Press Release:  29 June 2018.

Today Barnet Council have published a financial report detailing three options for the two #Capita contracts in Barnet

http://barnet.moderngov.co.uk/documents/s47263/Capita%20Realignment.pdf

The options are as follows:

  1. Maintain the status quo in relation to the CSG and DRS contracts;
  2. Re-shape the contracts to better align service delivery to the council and Capita’s strengths and priorities, within the context of the existing contractual structure; and
  3. Bring the partnership to an end, and either bring services back in house or re-procure them.

The senior officers preferred option is Option 2 the Council.

They have identified the following services to be brought back into Council control

CSG

  • Finance and Accounting (excluding transactional services provided from the Darlington shared service centre)
  • Estates (Property Services, Building Services and Facilities Management)
  • Strategic HR
  • Safety, Health and Welfare
  • Insight
  • Social Care Direct

Re

  • Regeneration Commissioning (including commissioning the Brent Cross programme)
  • Highways
  • Economic Skills and Development
  • Cemetery and Crematorium
  • Strategic Planning

“I could say we, told you so, and we did. However the Council is in a financially critical situation and now is not the time to for rhetoric. it is time to start rebuilding our Council. I welcome the report going to Policy and Resources Committee on Thursday 19 July 2018. However, Barnet UNISON will be supporting option 3 with qualifications. We support bringing the partnership to an end, and beginning the process of bringing services back in house. It is simply not feasible to contain to peddle the Commissioning Council model. Pragmatism driven by the financial crisis has to mean that the Council needs to include in their business case a major restructuring of senior management across the Council including the Barnet Group. The Commissioning restructure 2012 is not fit for purpose. The Council need to look at how services best fit including those within the Barnet Group. There must not be a silo approach to insourcing. John Burgess, Branch Secretary Barnet UNISON

Background

  1. Two Capita contracts with Barnet Council are:

Customer and Support Group (CSG)

https://www.barnet.gov.uk/citizen-home/council-and-democracy/one-barnet-transformation-programme/customer-and-support-group-csg.html

  1. Regional Enterprise Ltd (Re)

https://www.barnet.gov.uk/citizen-home/council-and-democracy/one-barnet-transformation-programme/regional-enterprise-ltd-re.html

Footnote: On 26 June 2017 Capita share price was 705.50 now six months later the share price closed today at 202.09 which represents a 72% drop in their share price over a six month period.

On Wednesday 31 January, 2018 the Capita share price opened up at 347 and closed at 182.50 which represents a 47.53% fall in share price.

Links.

Damning report into EasyCouncil, Outsourcing including forward by John McDonnell

http://www.barnetunison.me.uk/wp/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/Barnet-UNISON-Capita-report-2018.pdf

Below are three short video messages from Dexter Whitfield on his report.

Dexter Whitfield on campaigning against outsourcing

https://youtu.be/zDt8VKKQ-Vs

Dexter Whitfield on outsourcing failures

https://youtu.be/IiD17Pt7OwY

Dexter Whitfield on true costs of Barnet easyCouncil

https://youtu.be/V0SytYCj1HA

 

 

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